New and Updated AEM resources from NC-AEM

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials logoThe following new and revised publications are now available on-line from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials:

Procuring Accessible Digital Materials

Accessibility of digital materials and technologies for all learners, including students with disabilities, has captured the attention of stakeholders on both sides of the education marketplace – from consumers to developers. To help all stakeholders take advantage of this moment, a new AEM Center publication on the procurement of accessible digital materials explains what accessibility means, why it’s important, who requires it, and how educational agencies can meet their responsibilities.

Use this link to view/download, “Procuring Accessible Digital Materials and Technologies for Teaching and Learning: The What, Why, Who, and How”

Accessible Educational Materials and Technologies in the IEP

Originally published in 2015, this 2018 update of Accessible Educational Materials and Technologies in the IEP discusses a number of locations in the IEP where it might be appropriate to refer to a student’s use of AEM. Did you know there’s no specific requirement in IDEA regarding where to include AEM in developing the IEP? This article provides guidance for states, districts, and IEP teams. Two of the authors presented a webinar on AEM in the IEP in early May.

Use this link to view/download, “Accessible Educational Materials and Technologies in the IEP”

NC-AEM offering accessibility training to k-12 educators

Making Everyday Curriculum Materials Accessible for All Learners

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials logoThe National AEM Center invites new K-12 educators to participate in a free professional development opportunity to improve the accessibility of the materials students use for learning. Many students with disabilities experience barriers to using curriculum materials due to physical, sensory, or learning disabilities. The outcome of the offered professional development is that you will improve students’ access to the same curriculum materials as their classmates. 

For this learning opportunity, educators in their first, second, or third year of teaching are being targeted, however, all interested participants are welcome. Small groups from the same school or district are encouraged.

Open Registration is 5/8/18 – 2/5/19: Participant need only register once during the open registration period and are welcome to do so at any time.

Topics

Five topics have been selected for online modules related to providing accessible classroom materials. The five topics are directly relevant to the curricular materials you use with students on a daily basis:

One topic will be introduced every seven weeks, with varied options for independent practice between them. Participants will select activities according to the time and effort you choose to commit; based on your choices, the time commitment will range from approximately one to three hours per seven-week topic. AEM Center staff will hold virtual office hours to support practice between topics, and participants will have the option to learn from one another over social media. 

Please use this link for more information and register for this free training…

AEM for school-based therapists webinar archived

Lincoln School, PortlandFor your viewing pleasure, we have posted the archive recording of the May 16, 2018 webinar with Kathy Adams and Shannon McFarland entitled, Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) for School Based Therapists. This webinar informs therapists who work in schools about the steps for implementing AEM for their students who need them. Sections of the Maine IEP form that pertain to Assistive Technology (AT) and AEM were discussed.

All of the referenced websites, resources and handouts are also available

Please use this link to visit and view the archived version of Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) for School Based Therapists.

New Website Accessibility Technical Assistance Initiative from US-DOE

Website - construction sceneMAY 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today announced it is launching a new technical assistance initiative to assist schools, districts, state education agencies, libraries, colleges and universities in making their websites and online programs accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Through webinars, OCR will provide information technology professionals with vital information on website accessibility, including tips for making their online programs accessible. The initiative announced today, on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, builds on OCR’s history of providing technical assistance on this issue to hundreds of stakeholders.

“As more educational opportunities are delivered online, we need to ensure those programs, services and activities are accessible to everyone,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, “OCR’s technical assistance will help us continue to forge important partnerships with schools for the benefit of students and parents with disabilities.”

OCR will offer the first three webinars on the following dates:

Webinar I: May 29, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. EDT
Webinar II: June 5, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. EDT
Webinar III: June 12, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. EDT

If you are interested in participating in any of these webinars, please send your request to OCRWebAccessTA@ed.gov; include your name, preferred webinar and contact information. You are encouraged to invite your vendors to attend these webinars.

Information regarding the scheduling and registration for additional webinars is available on the Department’s website…


Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by medithIT

US DOE Looking for Stories

StudentsRepublished from ACTEM’s newsletter Connected Educator

by Jennifer Orr, NBCT, 3rd grade teacher

Jennifer approached ACTEM in the hopes that they might be able to recommend a few great examples of work happening in schools or districts that might fit into one of the topics listed below.

I am working with the Office of Educational Technology (OET) at the U.S. Department of Education to research and write a collection of stories for the OET Story Tool as part of a new pilot project and I was hoping ACTEM
readers might be able to help us!

The OET has a Story Tool that collects and shares short narratives that describe exemplary educational technology policies and practices in schools across the country. See some example stories on the US-DOE website…

Specifically, we are looking for stories on certain topics including:

  • Technology use w/early learners
  • Accessibility and universal design for learning
  • Active use of technology (e.g. AR/VR, games, coding, media production, etc.)
  • STEM/STEAM

Each story will identify a challenge faced by a school, district, or state as well as how the institution leveraged technology to address the challenge. In highlighting these stories, we hope to provide actionable examples that other schools, districts, or states might learn from and replicate.

If you have a story to tell, please contact Jennifer Orr directly at: jenorr@gmail.com. Each collection will include ten stories, so it isn’t guaranteed that every story will be highlighted in this round.

Engaging Adolescent Striving Readers

The following announcement and free webinar is from edWeb.net…

From Frustration to Freedom: Engaging Adolescent Striving Readers

Frustrated studentThursday, March 15, 2018 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT

Presented by Dr. Jennifer McCarty Plucker, Literacy and Professional Learning Lead Consultant, Mackin.

In this edWebinar, Dr. Jennifer McCarty Plucker, Literacy and Professional Learning Lead Consultant for Mackin, will bring educators into the shoes of an adolescent striving reader. Attendees will explore the challenges students face when struggling to comprehend and consider how students can use their strengths to grow areas of need. Through the stories of the implementation of a literacy intervention program aligned to the most recent research on adolescent literacy, attendees can see how they might (re)design their approach to engage learners, accelerate growth, and foster identity change for so many struggling learners.

This session is designed for all school librarians, literacy leaders, ELA and reading teachers, and administrators working with middle school and high school students. There will be time for questions after Dr. McCarty Plucker’s presentation. Join us to gain strategies for fostering more growth in striving readers.

About the Presenter

Dr. Jennifer McCarty Plucker, Literacy and Professional Learning Lead Consultant, will help you transform your teaching and learning methodology with the inclusion of her accomplished brand of professional insight and the resourcefulness, expertise, and support of Mackin. Dr. McCarty Plucker received her doctoral degree in educational leadership with research focused on adolescent engagement/motivation and accelerated literacy growth. Her research has been recognized in ASCD’s Educational Leadership, by the International Literacy Association, and the Southern Regional Education Board’s High Schools That Work.

She has over 20 years of education experience as a teaching and learning coordinator, ESL coordinator, K-12 intervention specialist, English/speech teacher, reading specialist, speech coach, past president of the Minnesota Reading Association, adjunct instructor, and literacy consultant. Dr. McCarty Plucker and the Mackin team partner with districts to provide coaching, guidance, professional learning, world class tools, and leadership customized for the students they serve.

Use this link for more information and to register for this free event…

Grand plan for new e-publishing tool

From E-Access Bulletin…

“Born accessible” e-books is the grand plan for new e-publishing tool – A free tool to test e-book content for accessibility errors has been launched.

electronic books on various devicesThe ‘Ace’ tool has been developed by the DAISY Consortium, a global organisation working to improve and promote accessible publishing and reading. The aim is to improve e-book usability for a wider audience and eliminate the barriers to reading e-books encountered by people with disabilities.

Ace works by assessing content published in the widely used EPUB format. Automated checks are performed and accessibility issues are flagged-up in a report generated by the tool.

The hope is that the tool will assist the publishing industry and authors in creating e-books that conform to the EPUB Accessibility specification. Speaking to e-Access Bulletin, DAISY Consortium’s Chief Operating Officer Avneesh Singh said: “We expect the publishing industry to use Ace widely, integrate it in their production workflows and improve accessibility of all their publications over time, leading to ‘born accessible’ publications.”

However, Ace’s developers are keen to stress the tool’s limitations as well as its benefits. They point out that Ace performs only automated checks and does not provide a complete picture of all possible accessibility violations, and should therefore be used alongside other forms of testing and evaluation.

Read the entire article on  E-Access Bulletin…

Subscription to e-Access Bulletin is completely free. You will be sent a monthly, text-only email newsletter on the latest developments in digital accessibility and assistive technology. To subscribe please click through to their sign-up page at lists.headstar.com .

 

Accessible PDF Webinar available in archive

icons of commonly used softwareOn February 14th we recorded Making PDFs into Accessible Educational Materials,  a 60-minute webinar with John Brandt and Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles, Ph.D., ATP

In this session, we discussed the importance of making all education materials accessible, how to ensure your PDF files “make the grade,” and various tools and techniques that can be used to help fix and rescue some documents.

View the webinar – “Making PDF’s into Accessible Educational Materials…

 

New Family Guide on AT and AEM Published

Students using Assistive TechnologyThe Maine CITE Coordinating Center is excited to announce the release of the revised parent resource entitled, “Guide for Maine Families on Assistive Technology (AT) and Accessible Educational Materials (AEM).”

The revised Guide is for Maine families of children who have disabilities ages 3 to 21 years who are eligible for services and/or programs under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This guide will assist families to get necessary assistive technology (AT) devices and services and accessible educational materials (AEM) for their children.

Here is the link to a MS-Word document version for you to download and print.

Feel free to share the link with others and to download and print out copies of the Guide if you need “hard copy.” The digital document is fully accessible.

If you find information that is no longer accurate, please contact the Maine CITE Coordinating Center – we welcome your input.

New Resource for Families Published

Student using iPad to readWe have just added a new section to the Maine AEM website for families. AT and AEM at Home is a brief resource for parents and families to help them understand about their child’s use of Assistive Technology (AT) and Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) in the home setting. Issues related to when the AT can be brought home, additional AEM resources for reading at home, as well as the importance of Transition Planning are discussed.

View/Read AT and AEM at Home

An additional, more detailed guidebook on this topic is also in the works and will be available through the Maine Parent Federation later this winter… stay tuned.